The Coil That Binds, The Line That Bends

The Coil That Binds, The Line That Bends is both object and process, both work and way of seeing or knowing.  As a sculptural form it is both the result of a long and laboured process of making, and the enabling tool, means, or vehicle for another, longer process of encounter, of engaging with the earth in a direct, yet non-intrusive way. 

The Coil emerged both physically and conceptually from one of the last remaining primitive interactions between humans and Nature ...the fishery of inshore Newfoundland. It is constructed from part of a retired fishing net, and bound by hand into a long, heavy, red line which has been "drawn" from the sea to make transient marks upon the land.

 Since The Coil's "birth" in 1988, the fishery has undergone significant trauma...the biological and ecological sending shock waves through the economic and cultural elements of one of the oldest traditions of a place.  What began as a retired fishing net starting a life beyond the fishery, has ended up as one of hundreds lying idle  all over Newfoundland.  What began as a celebration and reflection of a harmonious relationship with Nature, has become a solitary echo of some mystery we have not yet deciphered. It began as a line drawn from an abundant sea, and has become an ambiguous reminder of scarcity...

Although urban living and modern technology have increasingly fragmented and regimented our ways of knowing, and have distanced us dangerously from the natural world, there remains for me, especially within the physical and cultural environment of Newfoundland, not just echoes and reminders, but strong and daily encounters with a natural world both alive and untamed... and in the current context, still mysterious, misunderstood, and humbling.  The preoccupations of my work in recent years have been focussed upon finding ways to know, express and re-enchant that world ... to empower it once again as an acceptable source of knowledge and to find my own place within it.

Laying down the line beyond its source in Newfoundland, on Vancouver Island, in the ancient dry sea-bed of the Alberta Badlands, and in Japan, another island  fishing culture, seemed like a natural progression. It was an instinctive journey, an act of following the leading line...from the first sunrise to the last sunset, from wet to dry, from island to inland, from East to Farther East. 

The Coil is both an echo of my own female experience in the physical world, and an object building a history of its own.  The two-dimensional works which have emerged from the process are like entries in a diary ... like shorthand which encodes the experience without struggling to capture it or re-present it.  These 2-dimensional works, the Biographical Notes, are the location where the physical experience becomes symbolic, where the memory of the past interaction becomes the navigator of the next ... they are both tracks which reveal where the process has been, and maps which hint at where it might lead.

Pam Hall, 1993